Milwaukee Alderman calls on Mayor Barrett to allocate streetcar funds to public safety

Posted at 2:28 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 17:33:36-04

MILWAUKEE -- An Alderman on Milwaukee's south side is calling on the Mayor to allocate funding once set aside for the streetcar project to public safety. 

Ald. Tony Zielinski held a news conference on Tuesday morning at City Hall. 

He said the Mayor's current budget allocates more than $500,000 in money from the parking fund towards the streetcar project. 

Zielinski said that money would be better used to hire more police officers, and criticized the Mayor's budget for eliminating 33 police officer positions. 

"How do we cut all those protective service positions and still move forward with the streetcar? Crime is totally out of control and it's unacceptable," Zielinski said. 

But Mayor Tom Barrett's office said the more than $500,000 in streetcar costs will no longer be paid for with city money. 

Milwaukee recently announced a 12 year, $10-million sponsorship deal for the streetcar with the Forest County Potawatomi Community. 

"The truth is that the Administration has been very clear that the Potawatomi's sponsorship of the streetcar diminishes the need to utilize parking fund revenues for the next couple of years," said Barrett's Chief of Staff Patrick Curley in a statement. "We expect to see various amendments to spend those funds."

Zielinski said he'd like to see the money instead put towards hiring more police officers, and will be introducing a budget amendment to do so in the coming week. 

Phase one of the streetcar, serving Downtown, is expected to open next year.